Burnaby Mountain Skill Park article in NewsLeader Paper- Mtbr.com
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    Burnaby Mountain Skill Park article in NewsLeader Paper

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    Bike skills park eyed for Burnwood

    Dino Sartori, of the Burnaby Mountain Biking Association, checks out some of the structures in the skills park at the top of North Rd. Similar structures would be part of a new cross country riding trail network being proposed in the Burnwood area, at the west end of Burnaby Mountain. The Association will be hosting an open house on June 19 at Westridge Elementary School to discuss the proposal.

    By Wanda ChowNewsLeader
    Jun 14 2006

    Mountain bikers may soon have a new place to ride and test their skills with planning underway for a Burnwood bicycle skills facility.

    The facility, to be located at the western edge of Burnaby Mountain just off Burnwood Avenue and Burnaby Mountain Parkway, is the subject of a public open house at Westridge elementary (510 Duncan Ave.) on Monday, from 6 to 8 p.m.

    The project will be a course with beginner, intermediate and advanced routes within it, said Heather Edwards, the City of Burnaby’s manager of parks design and development.

    There has been “quite a bit of demand,” for such a facility, Edwards said. “What’s happening now is we have unsanctioned building going on in many of the forested areas in Burnaby, so we know the demand is there.”

    Often, for liability reasons, city crews have to remove those unofficial bike skills structures because they’re unsafe, she said. One way to address that issue is for the city to build a bike course itself to proper standards and have city crews maintain it.

    Unsanctioned bike courses are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and are looked at from a liability and safety perspective, she said. If they’re deemed unsafe, a note is posted before they are eventually removed.

    The project has long been advocated by the Burnaby Mountain Biking Association, which has been maintaining existing trails and skill-building structures on the eastern side of the mountain for some time.

    Such structures can include “ladders” or boards elevated up to a couple feet off the ground, teeter totters and jumps, said the association’s president, Ron Burton.

    “I just think it’s extremely exciting for the community, particularly for the kids,” he said.

    Dino Sartori, vice-president of the association, said he hopes the new routes will take some pressure off other trails in the area which are becoming congested and subject to greater wear through increased use by hikers and new residents at the UniverCity development on the mountain.

    “Very few cities have a [mountain bike] riding area smack in the middle of the city,” Sartori said. “Time needs to be spent to make sure it’s done right.”

    If all goes as planned, construction on the Burnwood facility could start later in the fall. It would join a similar facility at Taylor Park in South Burnaby that was completed just last week and is already being used by kids at night when contractors and heavy machinery are not around doing finishing work at the site, she said.

    The Burnwood facility will be designed in a trail style while Taylor Park has its obstacles and challenges within one area, similar to a skateboard park.

    The Burnwood project has received budget approval, although the exact cost is still to be determined through the design process.

    “These facilities are really in response to public demand,” Edwards said. “We’re trying to create safe environments for the kids. This is what they’re into so we’re responding to that need, basically.”

    The types of sports and activities that are popular among kids change all the time so it’s “important to stay relevant and keep the facilities as in-style as possible when you’re building them.”

    The open house for the Burnwood bike skills facility will be held Monday, June 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Westridge Elementary School gymnasium, 510 Duncan Avenue. For more information, call 604-294-7450.

    [email protected]

    mario bartel/newsleader

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